Unless you’re a huge star, putting your music up on streaming services such as Spotify isn’t going to make you rich.
It’s estimated that if your music generates a million plays on Spotify, you’ll earn around $7,000. The vast majority of musicians will never hit those numbers.
The good news is that if you’re a music producer, there are much better ways to earn money from your work. One of which is sync licensing.
Read on as we outline all you need to know about how to succeed in sync licensing.
What Is Sync Licensing?
A sync license is a type of music license that the owner or composer of a piece of music grants to a licensee.
This license allows the licensee to use the music synchronized to visual content such as a movie, TV show, commercial, or video game. Since the music is synchronized to the visual content, it is called a synchronization license, more commonly abbreviated to just sync license.
The copyright is usually divided into two parts; the composition itself, and the recording of that composition. If you are producing your own music, then you will usually own both of these rights.
Who Uses Sync Licensed Music?
Sync licensed music is used in a wide range of visual media.
If you’ve ever seen a movie featuring a great soundtrack, each of those tracks will have been sync licensed. If you enjoyed listening to Firestarter while playing Wipeout on the original PlayStation, that track would have been sync licensed.
Microsoft famously spent $3 million for the rights to use a song by the Rolling Stones in the advertising campaign to launch Windows 95.
Benefits of Sync Licensing
Sync licensing has several benefits, beyond the obvious one of getting paid by the licensee for the use of your music.
When your music is used in visual work, it exposes everybody who watches that work to what you can do. If your song appears in a video game that sells a million copies, that’s a million people who are listening to your work. If your music is used in an advert, it could be broadcast to the entire nation.
It’s also a great source of passive income. Once you’ve finished creating your masterpiece, you put it out into the world, and it can continue to earn you money for years to come. The more music you have out there, the more passive income you can make.
What Music Is Best for Sync Licensing?
If you want to make money from sync licensing, you need to be sure that you’re producing that type of music that people will want to license.
Almost any type of song or instrumental can sell if it’s well made, but there are ways to make your work more likely to get picked up. Lyrics that are too specific can work against you as they will only suit very specific circumstances. Some musicians focus on instrumental music only to remove the issues that lyrics can cause.
If you’re going to include lyrics, positive, uplifting, and energetic messages are usually more in demand than songs that make you want to burst into tears.
How to License Your Music
If you think that sync licensing is for you, then you have several options. Which one you will pick will depend on your circumstances.
If you sign up with a publisher, they will take care of a lot of the work for you.
It is in their interest to get your work placed, so they will work hard to get it out there. The downside, of course, is that when they are successful in placing your work, they will take a percentage of your fees, leaving you with a smaller return.
If you’re signed with a record label, they may have their own sync manager.
Once again, your label will benefit if they can place your music in an advert or a movie, so they will work hard on your behalf to do so if they think there is money to be made. Having the might of a record label behind you can definitely help to get your music out there, but you’ll be missing out on some of the return.
There are specialist agents who focus purely on sync licensing.
They will pitch your music to their clients to get your music placed and take a cut of the proceeds in return. A good sync agent will have a strong relationship with clients and so have a much better chance of getting your music placed, but you’ll pay for their expertise.
If you’d prefer to go it alone, it’s more than possible to do so.
You can try pitching your music to clients yourself and cut out the need for a sync agent, but getting them to take your call in the first place might be a challenge. A simpler method is to put your music on a licensing platform such as Rumblefish. People looking for music for their movie or video game can search the site to find exactly the thing they are looking for.
It’s a simple way to get your music out there, but the site will take a cut of your earnings, so it’s important to bear that in mind. If you’re looking to make good money online with a minimum of fuss, these sites are probably the easiest way to do it.
Are You Looking for Ways to Make Extra Money?
Sync licensing is just one of several ways to earn some extra money.
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